The Jungle Book 2 Movie Review

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Last year, I received a lot of grief from readers who insisted I was heartless for panning Disney's Lilo & Stitch. As I sat waiting for my The Jungle Book 2 screening to begin, I relished the idea of more hate emails flooding my inbox if this latest animated adventure didn't bring the goods. But this time, Disney didn't let me down, and though I'm somewhat disappointed knowing those email unpleasantries do not await me, I am thrilled to give The Jungle Book 2 a glowing recommendation.

The Jungle Book 2 begins flawlessly where the original left off as Mowgli (now voiced by Haley Joel Osment) is trying to adjust to the chores and responsibilities of living in the man village. Mowgli would much rather play with his new family than work, but he also dreams of disobeying orders to cross the river outside the village and enter the mysterious jungle in search of his old friend Baloo (John Goodman). One night, Mowgli's desires of returning to his jungle home become reality. Unfortunately, this causes great concern from his girlfriend Shanti and the rest of the village. What Mowgli doesn't realize is that the tiger Shere Khan (Tony Jay) anxiously awaits another meeting with the young cub, so he can settle old scores.

Moving at a brisk 75 minutes, The Jungle Book 2 is fun family entertainment and has just the right blend of music, laughs, and adventures to keep both the kids and adults interested throughout the film's entire journey. In particular, Disney took great care with the film's pacing. In several spots, as the action got closer to a lull, a musical number or comedic routine from Lucky (Phil Collins) and his vulture pals help replenish the film's journey.

The very crisp animation of The Jungle Book 2 is rich with vibrant colors that starkly contrast the hastily drawn, unfocused Lilo & Stich. The jungle scenes are ripe with a generous mix of cheerful greens and blues, except when Shere Khan roams the land and the colors turn to sinister reds and oranges. As far as the music is concerned, the film offers two new foot-stomping showtunes, "Jungle Rhythm" and "W-I-L-D" along with a return of some old favorites, including "Bare Necessities." Each musical number is precisely choreographed and brought to life with the many inhabitants of the jungle.

The Jungle Book 2 lacks the heavy moral message typical of other Disney films, but in a time when sequels rarely live up to the original, its flawless, lighthearted entertainment will please everyone - much like this review, I hope.

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The Jungle Book 2 Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: G, 2003


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